Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Drip, drip, drip - and that was just the coverage

It wasn’t the rain that put the dampeners on the Diamond Jubilee river pageant – it was the BBC.

Rarely have I cringed so much at the way our national broadcaster manages to demean itself in front of a global audience that holds it in such high regard.

Presenters, some seasoned event broadcasters, others bit-part add-ons from popular TV shows burbled their way through hours of coverage, desperately trying to fill voids of silence as if paid by the word.

To be told the royal barge is now heading “out towards the City of London – the real financial power”, and made to “look at all the crowds - this is what her reign has been leading to” was bad enough, but even understandable given the audience reach.

But to see Anneka Rice tell an artist whose acrylics were smudged beyond recognition by the downpour: “That’s so monet! He'd have been so proud”, or Matt Allwright tell us a woman who lives on a barge is surrounded by luxury because “she has sofas and everything” was banal.

Then we had John Sergeant on Westminster bridge gamefully trying to get the crowd behind him to cheer and Tess Daly being knighted in the studio by a man in drag!

And we did we have to be informed that small boats were being rowed by people “up since 10 without a toilet break”? Oh yes, and the woman on the barge’s dog had been good to “cross its legs” during the proceedings.

Forget Fearne Cotton’s embarrassing interview with a war veteran (she could have got his name right) and the fact that the opening of Tower bridge heralded “an extraordinary machine lifting an extraordinary road into the sky” before cutting away and missing most of it.

I can’t remember who said “The rain is the one thing no-one has any control over”. But by then I was past caring.

Executive editor Ben Weston took the view not to “point and shoot” but to “try and bring it to life”.

At least we know where to point the blame.